This year we begin our first foray into backyard homesteading. I am well read on the topic, having spent countless hours reading books, forums and online resources. That said, it is finally time to put this “book learning” into practice and I am both excited and apprehensive about my role in this project. Our intention is to be as efficient as possible in our decisions so that we can produce a bounty of food to healthily sustain our family. This might just be the most important project we have ever taken on.
We are going to be growing non GMO heirloom crops and come harvest time the plan is to cure, dehydrate, can and preserve the excess bounty so there is no waste. Our focus is to reduce and eventually eliminate our reliance on the commercially produced grocery store food. What we can’t produce ourselves we hope to source from local farmer and cooperatives that are like minded in their goals.
The majority of our food will be grown in containers, following (somewhat) Mel Bartholomew’s Square foot gardening concepts. Our back yard is more forest like than anything else and comes with a variety of healthy and hungry wildlife. We also do not know what is in the soil from former owners and want to start “clean”. We don’t know the property that well yet, and with containers we can if necessary move sections of garden to more suitable locations. I think overall we have a better chance of protecting the crops from the elements and nature, by adopting the container gardening methods. The main garden will be conveniently located on the deck directly off the kitchen/sun room.
The seeds I have bought this year promise to produce quite beautiful and exciting range of veggies and flowers. I have found some beautiful heirloom seeds with varieties that are not often seen today. Our carrots will be a flavorful variety of hues, as nature intended. Exciting! I have also bought a variety of companion plants. Each has properties that will help protect a specific crop like tomatoes from pests and even attract good bugs like bees and ladybugs that protect the crops.
As for meat and dairy, I am still working on that. There is a lot to be learned and our property has some limitations.
I have started researching small farms in the area. We are looking for non GMO fed, humanely produced free range meat and dairy. This is a bit more challenging that I expected. Farmers markets are starting up again soon and I look forward to building a network of good contacts and suppliers over the summer. We need to build a network of like minded people.
The nursery is started. I have trays of seedlings growing all over the house, and fingers crossed the last day of frost will arrive at its traditional time. It has been unseasonably cold this year so I am anxious and nursing the seedlings carefully. I am fully aware that in the end mother nature will be the one to decide the fate of my seedlings.
I am just starting and although each step and product has been researched rather thoroughly, I can’t really attest to the quality or results of any of the methods, resources or products that I am using – yet. I will share the good and the bad as I go along so that others can benefit from our experiences.
Here is to the start of a healthy & bountiful season.
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